For young women in early South Asia, marriage was a crucial event that largely determined their socioeconomic and religious future. Yet while many of the rules and requirements for Hindu marriage around the beginning of the Common Era are well documented, there has been little in the way of systematic examinations of the evidence for marriage customs among Buddhists of this period. In this respect and others, our understanding of the lives of early Buddhist women is still limited. In her recent book, Brides of the Buddha: Nuns’ Stories from the Avadānaśataka, Dr. Muldoon-Hules used ten stories from a major collection of Buddhist narratives compiled sometime in the first five centuries C.E., in conjunction with other contemporary texts from both Hinduism and Buddhism, to examine the social landscape of early India. In this talk, she discusses some of what these tales can tell us about Buddhist marital customs, Hindu-Buddhist tensions, and regional variation in South Asian Buddhism during this period.
Dr. Karen Muldoon-Hules completed a Ph.D. (2011) and an M.A. (2005) in Asian Languages and Cultures at UCLA. She also holds a Master’s in Library and Information Science from Indiana University. She teaches undergraduate courses for Asian Languages and Cultures Department and for the Study of Religion Program at UCLA. She has presented at a number of major conferences and published several articles and the book on which this talk is based.
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